Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! (Email from 12-28)

Oh man, I cannot believe Christmas has come & gone in the blink of an eye and now it's almost 2016!

I really don't have much to report on this week since I got to SKYPE MY FAMILY on Christmas day, which was the best ever! Being on a mission, away from your family for so long makes it a very strange experience when you have the chance to talk to them face to face, even over skype. Although it was strange, it was the best strange I could've asked for. That was my 3rd time skyping my family on my mission & I don't know about you, but that was my FAVORITE. Just one more skype session to go & I'll see you all in person a couple weeks later :)

Sister Helms
Hermana Whitten
We went on a couple exchanges this week, which were AWESOME!
Wednesday I stayed in my area for the first time with Sister Helms, who was Sister Anderson's MTC companion. She is SO SWEET. I just love her & really enjoyed the day with her. & on Saturday I was in my area with Hermana Whitten. She's sooo funny. I'm really liking going on exchanges with the sisters :)

Christmas eve was so great! during the day we were able to find an old folk's home to carol to. They brought some of them (just about 10) in the dining hall & we sang for about 20 minutes. It was the toughest crowd I've ever sung to. We found out as we were leaving that it was not your ordinary old folks' home, but a home for those who have mental deterioration such as Alzheimer's or Dementia. After we knew that, we understood why the audience was the way they were.

Later our recent convert in YSA, (Young Single Adult ward) Desiree, texted us & asked if we could have a lesson with her. We took Hanna Schulthess & after the lesson Hanna brought Desiree back to her house & we had Christmas Eve dinner with the Schulthess' & the Schaeffer's (bishop, his wife & 2 kids)

My little spiritual thought for the week is about repentance & the sacrament.
I was reading from an old ensign this week--the April 2007 general conference edition. I read "I Am Clean" by President Hinckley. In it he tells a story from Joseph F. Smith & a lesson that he learned--cleanliness is next to godliness. And he quoted this scripture that really hit home for me.
Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;
Learn to do well; …
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord:though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:16–18).

Sometimes as a missionary you feel as though you need to be perfect. We're held to very high standards & sometimes it's a daunting task to measure up. When we fall short we can easily become discouraged & feel that we could've done better. This is kind of the way I was feeling at one point this week. But I know that the Lord loves me & will forgive me & strengthen me when I come to Him. I know it's the same for you. He doesn't expect us to be perfect now. He does expect us to do our best, but He knows we will fall, we will fail. With our fallings & our failings comes feelings of guilt & sorrow. However, this scripture states it perfectly. The Lord wants us to come to Him & reason with Him. The best way to do this is through sincere prayer & partaking of the sacrament. The Sacrament is the Lord's way in telling us our sins are forgiven. I'm sooo beyond grateful for the sacrament. It meant more to me this week, as I've been studying repentance, than in recent weeks. 

A challenge to all: the next time you feel down & out because of a mistake you made, a harsh word you said, a thought you might've had, stop & pray & ask the Lord to forgive you & help you be better. I promise He will. Then take the sacrament knowing He has forgiven you & not only that, but He strengthens you to do better & to be better. 

Welll, I think that's about it for this week. I'll talk to you in a quick week when it is WEEK 6. Can you believe it? only 2 more weeks of this transfer! ahhhh.
talk to you next week!
Until then, stay gold.
xoxo Sister Viraldo

MERRRY CHRISTMAS!!! (Email from 12-21)

It's that time of year again...CHRISTMAS!
This whole past week has been full of Christmas cheer. I feel like missionary time is back to normal--flying by! This week happened in a blink of an eye, I swear...maybe it's because I've been sick. Yes, Tuesday evening I started getting a sore throat. Wednesday morning I woke up with a terrible sore throat I wanted to die. 

Well, Tuesday morning Sister Hobbs called us & asked if we would sing "While Shepherds watched their flocks by night" at the desert Christmas devotional the next day. So when I woke up Wednesday sick I was worried I wouldn't be able to sing. But I just figured I'd save my voice & give it my all when it was our time. It worked out pretty well. 

Wednesday night we were supposed to exchange with the Ranchos sisters. I still wasn't feeling well so after dinner we went home to rest before exchanges. I got up at 8pm & wasn't feeling well at all, so we cancelled the exchange & said we'll see how I'm feeling in the morning & maybe exchange then. 

Woke up Thursday morning with a slight sore throat, but mostly I was just congested, but I felt good enough to go on exchanges. So I went to the Ranchos area with Sister Stallings, who came out 1 transfer after me. It was a pretty good day besides the fact I was incredibly congested & whenever I talked I sounded like I was wearing nose plugs or something.
We ended up exchanging back a little early so we could have dinner then go to institute. It was the last institute class of the semester & a really good one at that. It was interesting because one thing that President Gibbons (the institute teacher) talked about was exactly what my email last week consisted of: the importance of feeling the spirit every day of our lives. 
Friday we weekly planned & took a lunch break to eat with the Silver Lakes & Mesa Linda sisters in Victorville, just a little sister bonding time :)  Friday night we went on exchanges with the spanish sisters in La Paz! I got to go to their area & learn spanish ;) I was with Hermana Ivey, who is definitely one of my favorite missionaries ever. We've actually served around each other a long time. Let's go back to April in Phelan. Hermana Ivey was in my zone for about 4 weeks. Left for a couple transfers then came back to the VVB zone. I never knew her much at all, but always wanted to get to know here better, so going on exchanges was great! We got to visit lots of people & I heard lots of spanish, but most of them spoke some english as well. 

The best day of the week I'd have to say though was yesterday, Sunday, aka my first Sunday at the Mojave Narrows ward. THIS WARD IS AMAZING. It was the Christmas program & we were lucky enough to be part of that. Sister Wood & I sang "Away in a Manger". Everyone was sooo kind & told us how great we sounded. The YW Pres, Sister Bell, asked us to come into YW & sing, the RS Pres asked us to sing at the end of RS, Sister Curry asked us if we could come to her home sometime before Christmas to sing so she could record us & add it to her playlist, & during church Landon Ebmeyer (who is in our YSA ward & his dad is the Apple Valley Stake President) texted us & said his dad wants us to come sing for his family after church. After church we went to the Ebmeyer's & turns out there was about 30 people there. They were having their annual Christmas family party. President Ebmeyer said "Last Sunday I had the privilege of being in the YSA ward & these two sisters sang & I swear the angels themselves stopped to listen. I came home to tell my wife about it. My sons Landon & Dallon both came home & were telling their mom about their song. & Tory (his nephew) went home & told his mom about them." So pretty much he was hyping us up SOOO much which made us pretty nervous haha. 

ANNELISE HELPED YOU MAKE PUMPKIN BREAD?!? that is just tooooo cute! did you get any pictures?!?! I'll tell you what it means to be an STL when we skype, so remind me! haha

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Email from 12/14

I'm feeling SO OLD!! Ah, I never thought I'd live to see the day I'd be 21...

This week was a really good week, but it was one of the longest weeks of my life & I couldn't tell you why. 

Tuesday we had zone meeting. So at the last transfer, President made a bunch of changes in the mission, including combining zones. In the past there were 2 Apple Valley zones, but now we're all one BIG zone. It's pretty great though. 

Wednesday at 10am we had a meeting with the zone leaders & President & Sister Hobbs--for the leaders in the Apple Valley zone. It was a great meeting packed full of information. Afterward we had our individual interviews with President Hobbs. The first question he asked me was "When was the last time you felt the spirit?" For some reason, I KNEW he was going to ask that question. Luckily I was able to say the last time I felt the spirit was that morning in my studies.
I pondered that question & idea throughout the week. I think back to before my mission--if I would've thought of that question & answered it, I probably would've said something like "at my baptism" or "last week at church". Both would've been true, but all too often we think of big events or conferences are where we feel the spirit. The Holy Ghost should be in every aspect of our lives; therefore, we should feel His presence each & every day. I'm SO grateful to be a missionary & to have had countless experiences with the spirit, where I now know what He feels like & how He works with me. I want everyone to have that experience. I want everyone to know & recognize the spirit's promptings in their EVERYDAY life. 
So my challenge to you is to slow down & use the Holy Ghost's guidance in choices you make everyday. Do things that will increase the spirit's presence, such as praying, reading the scriptures, or doing good things for other people. Too often we take for granted the greatest gift--the Holy Ghost. He should be our constant companion to warn us of dangers, to prompt us to do good, to give us feelings of love, peace & joy. 
After our interviews we had the wonderful privilege of taking Sister Hobbs out with us for a few hours! It was so neat to see Sister Hobbs in action & BOY does she do a good job. We went out to lunch & she talked to everyone in her sight! I knew I had to step up my game. We had to stop at Stater Bros to get Hanna Schulthess a bday cupcake. The first opportunity I had I started talking to a lady with an adorable child & gave her a Christmas card :)

Thursday was my first exchange ever as an STL (sister training leader)! I went to Victorville with Sister Carter. I knew of her before & I'd seen her around, but never really talked with her. She is adorable! She's been out about 5 months & is from Utah. Sister Wood stayed in our area with my MTC companion, Sister Dinkel. It was a good day!

Friday we had to take our car into Pep boys for an oil change & stuff. We planned on working on our area book while in there, but there's no time for that when there's friendly people to talk to. We ended up spending the whole time there talking to 2 different men. One was a man in his 70s who has been a firefighter for over 50 years & is also an ordained minister. He was super kind. Then after he left, the man that was sitting next to us struck up a conversation with us. He knows quite a bit about the church & has gone to temple square before. 
After we found out our car would take longer than normal, we called Sister Wagner & Hammond to pick us up. We went to Hanna Schulthess' house to weekly plan, because this girl, who just turned 18, is going to be the most prepared missionary there ever was. She comes out teaching & tracting with us about 3-4 times a week & she wanted to know how to weekly plan. We told her it's super long & pretty boring, but she didn't care. So we spent the rest of the afternoon weekly planning and then went to our ward Christmas party. Man, Mojave Narrows really knows how to throw a party! It was super fun. :)

Well, all week Sister Wood was keeping secrets from me about my bday. I was hoping that moving to a new area nobody would know when my birthday was & I could spend ONE birthday of my life not focused on me. But alas, Sister Wood is the best & made sure EVERYONE knew. She even woke up at 5am to decorate the house & make pancakes. Yeah, I know...haha
We got to sing in the YSA (young single adult) ward, our rendition of "Away in a Manger/Jesus Once of Humble Birth". We had dinner with the Schulthess' & they also celebrated Sister Wood's bday on the 30th. They gave us a couple gifts :)

Thanks for being the best family ever! I miss you all & love you!
Sister Viraldo

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Email from 12-7

Okay, I'll start off with answering your questions since I'm usually not the best at that.

Everything is going pretty swell. Change is always hard, but it's really good! My daily schedule is WAY crazier now than it was. I told you I'm in the Ridgecrest Young Single Adult (YSA) & the Mojave Narrows wards, & that means that we cover BOTH! But alas, we do not do it alone. We have ward mates in both wards, meaning a set of elders. So how that works is that they split up our proselyting area, so we have 1/2 & the elders have the other 1/2. But for YSA it's that we teach the girls & the elders teach the guys.
So yes, covering 2 wards keeps us SUPER busy, which is really great a lot of times, but it also makes it VERY difficult to not just be BUSY, but to be PRODUCTIVE--meaning fulfilling our purpose as missionaries. It is very easy to get appointments with less actives & recent converts all day, even some investigators, but it leaves very little time for finding. And a missionary who is not finding is not a missionary at all. So the struggle is balancing appointments & finding time. 
As of right now we go to one ward's sacrament meeting one week & the other the next because they are both at 1pm, but come the new year Mojave Narrows will be at 9, so we will be in church/church meetings from 7:30am-4pm, at least, every Sunday! hahaha & people think 3 hours for church is long! It'll be really nice, though, because then we'll get to be able to know the ward better. It's tough getting to know everybody in 2 wards. I've found that it's harder in the YSA ward because they're single people--in family wards it's easy for me to group them into families then learn their names, but it's different for the singles.
My mailing address for letters & small packages is:
17929 Siskiyou Rd Apt #6
Apple Valley, Ca 92307
but for bigger packages send it to the mission office! You never REALLY know what will happen with transfers, but if I had to guess...I will die (finish) here, so it's pretty safe for people to send me things with that address. 

Ahh and it's SO FUN to live with Sister Wagner again! I LOVE her. I also love her wardrobe, so we share a lot.  It's just really nice to live with another set of sisters. :)
Happy together again with Sister Wagner!
Sister Wood is from Orem, Utah & is awesome. She is so hardworking & SELFLESS. If there is one word I could use it would be that. For example, she volunteered us to help someone move on PDAY! I was not too fond of the idea, since we only get from 10-6 as it is. PLUS our dinner tonight is at 4:45. After some repenting on my part, I was glad to help. She is a great example to me of selfless service & love. And yes, she is a great singer. We sing together all the time. We've been singing "Silent Night" for members/nonmembers we meet :)

So this week was a really great week! Here are some highlights:

Monday evening we had Family Home Evening at the institute with the YSAs, & we got to teach the lesson! hahaha I say that very sarcastically, because it was just sprung on us when we got there, but luckily Sister Wood is on top of things & came up with a great lesson.
We stopped by to see our investigator, V. She is a woman in her low 60s. She is just the SWEETEST! We watched the Restoration video with her & testified of Joseph Smith & the Book of Mormon. She says she will be baptized when she knows it's true. YAY for the Holy Ghost & how He testifies of truth!
Thursday I got to experience my first MLC--Mission Leadership Council. It was so great! It's a meeting that happens the first Thursday of every month for the Zone Leaders & Sister Training leaders in the mission. It is run by President & Sister Hobbs & the APs (assistants to the President). They invited the old Stake President from Chino to talk to us because this month we are studying as a mission chapter 13, Stake & Ward leaders. It was super good! It's fun to see President Hobbs in a different setting, who knew he was so funny? They also fed us lunch! When we were getting our food President asked me "do you miss Wrightwood? You did great work there." That made me happy to hear! :)
There was a pretty big Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Saturday where local groups set up tables & hand stuff out. Our stake set up a table & handed out cookies & pass along cards. A few missionaries went to help & Sister Wood & I ended up singing Christmas carols for 1.5 hours. It was so fun to see how it made the passerbys so happy :)
Sunday we went to Mojave Narrows ward council & I got to meet some of the "celestial members" as Sister Wood calls them. She has talked SO much about this ward & how great it is. I got to see a little glimpse of it so far, & it's definitely living up to its expectations. We went to church at the YSA ward & afterward had "break the fast". Yummyyy food. Then watched the Christmas devotional. 

Exchanges are coming up this week & I'm a little nervous, but it'll be great! We have one on Thursday & one on Saturday.  I love being a missionary, especially at the Christmastime because it's not weird to talk about Jesus every hour of every day!!!
Hope you all have a great week & THANK YOU for the birthday wishes. I feel so old.
xoxo Sister Viraldo

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

New transfers, new opportunities (11-30 Email)

I am writing to you from Apple Valley with my new companion, Sister Wood! I've been called to be a Sister Training Leader in the Ridgecrest YSA & Mojave Narrows wards. I'm really looking forward to this new opportunity to grow, yet was super sad to leave the beautiful Wrightwood. BUT I am STL over all the sisters in the high desert (about 9 sets)--meaning I get to go on exchanges in Wrightwood!! ALSO I am living in the same house as my first born, Sister Wagner! :)
My new companion, Sister Wood

My daughters! Sister Wagner and Sister Anderson
I'm amazed at the stark contrast between the world's definition of a leader & the Lord's definition. The world sees leaders as those who can exercise control & power over people & gaining praise & honor along the way. Jesus Christ was the greatest leader. But He did not exercise control over those he led. He served them in the very greatest sense. I know that I've been called to be a leader not to gain any praise or honor, but to serve. I'm SO grateful for this opportunity to serve the Lord & now my  fellow sister missionaries on an even greater level. I'm really looking forward to learn from each of them & to grow as a missionary.

This last week was great! Ya know, Thanksgiving & everything :)

Yesterday (Sunday) was a bittersweet day for sure. I had the privilege of bearing my testimony in sacrament meeting & singing "Thy Word Is A Lamp Unto My Feet". The response from the members was amazing. I'm forever grateful for my gift of music & how much it can bless the lives of others as I use it for good. Every time someone tells me "you have a gift", "I felt the spirit so strong when you were singing", "that was so moving", etc. I am reaffirmed that THAT is exactly what Heavenly Father wants me to do: bless others' lives through music. 

I love this work, I love this gospel. It is a gospel of HAPPINESS! 
I LOVE LIFE BECAUSE IT'S OFFICIALLY CHRISTMASTIME! Go watch the new Christmas video "A Savior Is Born" on
Sister Viraldo

Sunday, November 29, 2015

11-23 Email

Since you never keep track of when transfers are coming up--it's not that hard, every 6 weeks ;)--I'll let ya know that this is WEEK 6. That means this Saturday we get the much anticipated transfer call! It's difficult to really know if you're staying or leaving, but if I had to guess I'd say that I'm leaving. I really don't know what's going to happen, but that's the fun of it! I'm looking forward to this week to leave this area BETTER than I found it, if I do leave that is. :)

Enough about the future--let's talk about what good happened this week.

Monday we had dinner with a couple sweet older sisters (who are actually sisters) Sister Quinn & Sister VanHouten. & afterward had a lesson with Alissa & Kealin. We taught the Plan of Salvation. 

Tuesday we had district meeting, which was great! We had to trade cars with the Spanish Elders because they were driving to Big Bear (in the mountains where there's snow) & needed 4 wheel drive. I was kinda sad to leave my beloved truck I drove 10,000+ miles on & had for 8 months, but happy to have a small car again!

We did service for the Yoakums, which has turned into a weekly thing. We had dinner with the Muzzy's. Brother Muzzy is a single dad. He's in his 50s & his wife (who was much younger than he) died unexpectedly a few years ago leaving behind a 4 year old daughter & less than a year old son who are now 12 & 9. Since we can't have dinner with a single man, or let alone be in the house with one, they invited Bro & Sis Howe to come over. It was a nice dinner before we had our scripture study class. 

After that we went home to prepare for EXCHANGES!!! The STLs (Sister Training Leaders) drove to our place. Sister Cauble stayed with Sister Anderson & I went with Sister Wood to their area in Apple Valley! The highlight of my day though was seeing my first born, Sister Wagner! She's doing sooo good & that makes me super happy :)

Wednesday was a great day with Sister Wood! I always learn SO much from her--or from any sister I go on exchanges with. Something a little different that she did that she's never done before on exchanges was I was the STL that day. Okay, that's not really what happened, but Sister Wood was training me to be an STL. Hahaha. We walked, talked, taught, & SANG all the day long. I wish I could send you the recording of us singing "Joseph Smith's First Prayer".  It's magical due to Sister Wood's majestic voice. We got back to Wrightwood a bit earlier than normal because they had to go on another exchange. So it was really weird to go back out to work after exchanges haha.

Thursday was great...kinda. So we had dinner with a really great family, but just a heads up: 9/10 missionaries HATE when you have a bunch of friends over to share dinner with because then the missionaries sit in silence as everyone talks about good times they've had & mutual friends 'n such. This is precisely what happened. Occasionally they'll notice how uncomfortable you look & start talking to you, but that ends quickly when another family member/friend takes them back to their younger years. Haha, okay I'm being dramatic. It's not ALWAYS a bad thing, just this time it was super uncomfortable. But they apologized to us & said next time it will just be us. Then we went over to the Peacock's & taught Amber about recognizing the Holy Ghost. We read a couple scriptures about it and then laid out about 20 cards with different feelings/actions the Holy Ghost causes. We then watched a couple Mormon messages & afterwards chose the card/cards that we felt while watching that. It's a neat activity to do to understand & recognize the feelings of the Spirit & how He works with you personally. :)

Friday we weekly planned with the ZLs & spanish sisters. It was good. Then we did some tracting & everyone that we talked to said "We're Christians". This phrase always gets me. It's like people say it implying that we are NOT Christians...? Idk, but as we were on our way to dinner Sister Anderson says "do we have time to stop at that house?" We stopped & met D. At first D wasn't so sure about the Book of Mormon, but he had a strong faith in Christ. I was able to testify of how the Book of Mormon talks & testifies of Christ & how it has strengthened my faith in Him. The neatest thing was that you could almost SEE the spirit change him as we testified. At the end of our conversation he accepted a BoM & said he'd read it! The spirit is AMAZING!!!

Saturday we were able to meet A, a very less active member. Last transfer we met his wife, who is not a member. This time we were able to sit down with him & talk. I asked him about his conversion & he told us how he converted to LDS & every one of his subsequent religions, hahaha. We also got in to talk with E. She is a potential investigator who is not very interested at all, but LOVES missionaries & us visiting. Her husband was actually baptized when he was like 12, and now he's 37. 

Sunday was great! The choir sang "Thanks Be To God", so that was fun. Sister Anderson has been sick with a cold the past few days & I'm HOPING I don't get it, mainly because I'm singing in church this Sunday & I need a voice! So far, so good. 

This ward is so good to us. Our dinner cancelled last minute yesterday & Brother Ogden stepped up & volunteered to feed us. Also, everyone wants to help Sister Anderson any way they can with her cold. They're the sweetest.  Whatever happens this weekend will be alright, it will be in God's plan. I would love to stay in Wrightwood, but I'll go wherever. His plan is greater than mine.

I regret spoiling you with such a long email last week. I can't always live up to those expectations if I want to do other things with my pday ;)

Wellppp, I better get going, BUT thanks for the email. If you want to mention to Jonathan that I emailed him about Christmas music that would be great. 
Have a wonderful THANKSGIVING! I'll be thinking about you all this Thursday! Love you bunches!!

xoxo Sister Viraldo

Friday, November 20, 2015

November 16 Email

Another week has come & gone, huh?

You might be surprised for me to say it but it was another grand week! You know how I've said my WHOLE mission that time just flies by??? Well, for some reason, since I've been in Wrightwood time has been pretty normal; not slow, but not fast. It is however, getting progressively faster. This week in particular went pretty speedy. 

Last Monday we had a zone activity at a park in Adelanto. We played football & I just gotta say, I got an interception then ran it in for a touchdown!!! Wooooo! Then we played kickball that I'm not the best at, but at least this time I didn't fall & scrape my knees like last time. (Back in April we played kickball for a zone activity & Sister Otuafi kicked the ball & Elder Fullmer got it & tried to throw it at her to get her out, but I stepped in the way & Sister O ran me over, causing me to scrape my knees pretty bad...bad enough that I STILL have scars from it haha.) But NOT this time! It was super fun. Our whole zone came plus the ZLs from the other Victorville zone, one of which was in our zone last transfer, plus a couple investigators from Adelanto came to play!
Then we had dinner with Sister Hancock & L! I LOVE them. :)

Tuesday we had zone meeting & the other victorville zone also had their zone meeting in the same building because President & Sister Hobbs + the APs came to show us the new Christmas initiative -- A Savior Is Born. The initiative kicks off on November 29th. If you remember, last year the initiative was He Is The Gift. This year they have a new video & we'll be getting pass along cards. I'M SO EXCITED!!!!! Christmastime is the BESTTTTTT. Make sure you check out the new video on the 29th!
Zone meeting was super great! The ZLs set a goal for us to hand out 10 cards every day in unplanned situations. Due to that goal, we had about 15 minutes before dinner & we walked into town. I saw two guys smoking & in my past life I wouldn't have talked to them, but I'm a changed person & we contacted them & ended up talking to one of them for about 15 minutes & were a little late for dinner...oops. After our scripture study class we had our first ward coordination meeting with Brother Herb Anderson! idk if I told you, but he is Elder Anderson (Deloy Anderson from Phelan)'s brother.

Wednesday morning Sister Cecilia Quinn texted us asking if we could come help do some house cleaning for the Yoakums. Sister Yoakum has had a slipped disc for like 3 weeks & finally asked for some help. She & brother Yoakum were very appreciative of the help. Later in the day, we went over to Brother & Sister Young's so they could take pictures of us doing missionary things. They said they can make a cd of the pictures they take & give it to us! I knew you'd like that mom. haha

A couple of the "funny" pictures, all we have so far...
We had dinner with Sister Abbott & her friend C. She is very nice & LOVES dogs--so much that she currently has 26 of them (one of them just had 11 puppies). Whenever she sees stray dogs she HAS to pull over & pick them up. We're going to go by her house sometime this week to see the puppies! 
We stopped by the LaFond's. Sister LaFond is active & her husband is not a member. We had a good conversation with Brother LaFond about his Tesla! If you don't know anything about that car, I'd suggest you do some research & your mind will be blown! 

Thursday was full of service & studies. At night we had a few minutes before the ward dinner/talent show. We were driving down the street & saw a house with SUPER COOL lights on it & in the yard. It was all laser. We decided to stop & tract into them. We met M & one of his daughters. He & his wife have 6 kids!! They weren't jumping on our message, but weren't opposed to us coming back. So that's cool.
So like I said, our ward had a dinner/talent show. It was actually a soup dinner! Yes, we did sign up for the talent show. Sister Anderson & I sang "Count Your Blessings" & I played guitar.
Bishop Jorgenson posted a 20 second video on Facebook. Sister Latham recorded the whole thing, so we're gonna see if she can send it to you & Sis Anderson's mom. It was super fun! Afterward we didn't have anything planned, so we went over to the VanHouten's to pick out the song I'm going to sing in sacrament meeting on November 29th. I think we decided on "thy word is a lamp unto my feet" :)

Friday we were supposed to weekly plan with the ZLs in Adelanto at 10:30. We left the house at 10am & got there at 10:40ish & as soon as we got there the ZLs called & said they had to cancel due to an emergency. So we were on our way home & I was turning left onto US 395 & TURNED INTO THE WRONG LANE. I was going the wrong way down the highway!!!!! AHHH luckily no one was in that lane & I was able to get over the small median into the correct lane. My adrenaline was pumping & a little ways down the road there was a highway patrol car...luckily it was all good! hahaha
Saturday--Miracle of the week!

Rewind to 2nd week of transfer 1 in Wrightwood. We saw a cute family consisting of a mom, dad, & 3 small children walking & they said hi to us. Sister Anderson & I both thought how they are adorable & could be on the front of an Ensign magazine. So naturally, we waited in our truck, watching which house they would turn in & subsequently got their address & decided we would "tract" into them some day. Fast forward a couple weeks, we knock on their home, but no one answered. We figured they're probably out walking. We left a Family Proclamation & our card on their door & left. Get this, just down the road, we saw them walking! 
Fast forward to a couple weeks ago. We go back to their house to follow up on the pamphlet, but we saw that our card was still in the door, but the pamphlet was gone....we didn't know what to do so we left haha. On Friday we went back & our card was STILL in their door. I opened the screen door & tried grabbing the card, but the door started to open so I quickly shut the door & rang the doorbell. A cute Vietnamese lady opened up & told us to come inside because it was cold out. She opened the door & our card was STUCK on the door. Weirdest thing ever. How have they not noticed for almost a month? Or are they just playing a trick on us?? hmmmm... So we told her who we were & that we wanted to teach her family how the gospel of Jesus Christ blesses our lives. She told us that her husband was sleeping, but to come back tomorrow because he speaks better English. 
So Saturday we went back & she excitedly told us to come in & that they had friends over! We walk in the kitchen & see her husband and a couple friends + like 8 children. "have you had dinner?" "no, we're eating a little later" "do you want to try some Vietnamese food?" "YES!" So she gave us a bowl of this yummy Vietnamese soup & told us to sit & eat. We weren't able to teach them a lesson, but we got to talk to both of them separately. She was raised with Catholic & Buddhist parents, but embraced the Catholic religion more. She hasn't gone to church since having a family, mostly because of her husband. She seems very open to us & I think she'd come to church if we can get him on board. He doesn't have too much of a religious background, but his dad is pentacostal, which has turned him away from religion altogether. We knows quite a bit about our church but hasn't read the Book of Mormon, so we gave him one & he said he'd read it. They invited us over for dinner this Saturday for egg rolls! Plus she knows a member of the ward & invited her & her family to come for dinner, too :)

Since they fed us dinner, we got 2 dinners that night because we had dinner with Rosie & Jill Smith! Sister Smith gave us a message from Brother Anderson asking if we could teach gospel principles, and then at about 7:30 we got a text from Bishop asking if we'd each be able to take 5 minutes in sacrament meeting...hahaha yikes.

Sunday was really good! Our talks went well with the little bit of preparation we got. I talked about when Elder Fallabella came to the mission & what he had to say about keeping the sabbath day holy & about keeping our focus on Christ as we partake of the sacrament. My favorite thing that he said was "Now that you know this, be careful, because you have to do it"

Sounds like your little trip was fun! I bet Jordan & Jonathan were happy to be back together for a short while. Hmmm I can only imagine what they were saying about me. Cool pictures too!
Wow, this email is SUPER long, so I'm gonna quit now.

I just LOVE being a missionary. I learn new things every day. I can't imagine what my life would be like without serving a mission. I know I'm where I'm supposed to be & when. Thanks for all your love & support. Make sure you're showing the missionaries in your ward LOTS of love & support as well! 
xoxo Sister Viraldo

Thursday, November 12, 2015

“Oh, Please Don't Bother Me"

S came to church!
we got 6 referrals
& hot sauce 
oh & an old lady telling us not to bother her 

that pretty much sums up my week.
xoxo Sister Viraldo


I was very tempted to leave that last email & call it good, but I know you wouldn't be very happy with I'll give you my boring list of things I did each day this week only because I love you ;)

Monday we had dinner at the Lathams & then had Family Home Evening with Alissa and Kealin. We read President Uchtdorf's article in October Ensign "Finish with your torch still lit" & then we played Apples to Apples.

Tuesday we had district meeting. President & Sister Hobbs came. Sister Hobbs was in our district meeting & she asked me if I was drinking moonshine....? idk what that was until I asked Sis Anderson. Hahaha I was drinking cinnamon apple herbal tea in a mason jar. We had dinner with Sister Kunz at Mile High. She gave us the name of 4 of her friends she wanted us to visit!
We had our scripture study class that night & had a good turnout (mainly because a couple YM came because they forgot they didn't have mutual, so they stayed for our class)
IT SNOWED!!! pics to follow

We talked to a lot of people this day! We met a couple of Sister Kunz's friends & they were super sweet, just like her. M always asks lots of questions, but says she's "too open minded", but if she were to go to church it would be ours. Then D was super sweet too & seemed open to us coming back :)

We tracted into a lady that told us "oh please don't bother me!" She said please, but don't mistake that for kindness. She was pretty rude about it. We just laughed it off haha. Then we had dinner with the Heiners. Sister Heiner is Primary president. We asked who they knew who could use the message of the gospel, & she said "you know every time you bring it up in ward council this name always comes to my mind. I guess I should listen to the spirit." She told us about her friend H & one of her daughters who is friends with the little Heiner girl. 

Thursday (1 year wooo)
We met Sister Heiner's friend, H. She wasn't super open, but said she lets her kids decide & "if she wants to be Mormon, then that's fine!" haha. But on Sunday Sister Heiner told us that she talked to H after we met her & she said she'd like to sit down & talk with us. Hopefully sometime soon us 4 will be able to do that! :) We had dinner with Sister Peacock & Amber, her 12 year old daughter. We then taught Amber the Plan of Salvation.

Friday was good

Saturday we did a lot of missionary work! Haha not that we don't do missionary work every day, but most days meetings, service, & other things are mixed in. But on Saturday we had 6 straight hours of missionary work! It was great, although for some reason not many people were home.

Sunday was amazing! Sacrament meeting featured the Quinn family. Bradford just got home from his mission in Japan on Friday & he as well as his parents both spoke. Also, all the Quinn siblings (3 girls & 2 boys) + a future son in law sang "Come, Follow Me" in 5 different languages! English, Russian, French, some filipino language, & Japanese. It was way cool. 

Also, L and his dad came to church! Idk how he took it. I did hear some comments he was saying to Sis Hancock during Sunday School. There really couldn't have been a more perfect Sunday for him to come though! We're not sure where he is with allowing L to be baptized. As of now, it's a no go.
We do have dinner with Sister Hancock & L tonight! She feeds us every other Monday when she has him :) We also visited the Dabells & the Bradys. Gooood stuff.

Sorry this letter is so lame.  You'd think I'd get better at writing about my week since I've been doing it for a whole year! but I guess not.

love you so much! have another wonderful week :)
xoxo Sister Viraldo
The snow didn't stick at the elevation we're at, but up higher it did!

First snow!!


Friday, November 6, 2015

Fill the Measure of Your Creation (11-2 Email)


I'm SO happy it's November because that means we just had Halloween, Thanksgiving is close & Christmastime is almost here & talk on the street is that there may be some snow coming my way. YAYYYY! 
(and yes, for all those counting, I hit my 1yr mark this week...) 

This week I read through a couple Priesthood blessings Brother Holland gave me while I was in Chino Hills & I came across one that said "continue seeking counsel to fill the measure of your creation". This phrase reminded me of a talk given at this past women's broadcast by Rosemary M. Wixom: "'God sent you here to prepare for a future greater than anything you can imagine.' That future, a day at a time, comes alive when you do more than just exist; it comes alive when you live your life to fill the measure of your creation. This invites the Lord into your life, and you begin to let His will become yours."  

I absolutely LOVE it. "Fill the measure of your creation".  Think about it: we are all created to be something so much greater than we even know. We were created by a loving Heavenly Father to do something in this life. We all have great potential; but what is my potential? What can I bring to the table? What good can I do? These are questions many of us ask ourselves often. At least I know I do. 

I wanted to know how I could fill the measure of my creation, so I took that question to the Book of Mormon. I was reading in Alma 36, & this is where Alma is recounting the story of his previous life of destruction & subsequently his visit by an angel that changed the course of his life & the church forever. In verse 14 he says, "Yea, and I had murdered many of his children, or rather led them away unto destruction; yea, and in fine so great had been my iniquities, that the very thought of coming into the presence of my God did rack my soul with inexpressible horror." & in this verse I found my answer. To fill the measure of MY creation I must be an example of light & truth; be a light on a hill for all to see for their guidance. 

I know that each of us have a divine potential. We are here on earth for a specific reason. It's our job to find that reason. As Sister Wixom says "let His will become yours". As we try to align our will with God's, we will know WHY we're here. We will come to feel a sense of direction & purpose in life. Everyone wants to feel like they are contributing to society--to feel useful in some way. As I continue seeking out ways to do better & be better, I encourage you all to do the same. You can be a great source of strength & light to others as you learn to fill the measure of your creation.

On a more personal note:
The theme of this week was FINDING. We've been doing a lot of tracting 'n stuff. It's good. Sister Anderson is getting more comfy with talking to people on their doors!!! Yay! One night at 8pm she had the prompting to visit a particular house that we've passed by SO many times & she's just in love with the house. Anyway, we met Steve & talked with him on his porch for literally 40 minutes hahaha. He isn't SUPER interested, but I was able to testify about the plan of salvation & it was cool because I could see the spirit working with him subtly. We left him with a POS pamphlet & will go back later to check on him.

Saturday--HALLOWEEN. We met a couple cool people in the early afternoon, then went to the library to help out with an activity they were having until our chili/cornbread dinner & trunk or treat at the ward! It was pretty nice, then we were home by 6 and we just sat around watching The Testaments, Labor of Love, & Legacy. haha

The Castle Family

That was pretty much my week in a nutshell. It was good :)

Have a wonderful week!
xoxo Sister Viraldo

Thursday, October 29, 2015

I Know My Savior Loves Me (10-26 email)

This week was definitely a busy one. But oh, so great!

Tuesday we usually have our scripture study class at 6:45, but the scouts were having a court of honor & we were tricked into going, haha. From past experiences, ya know, having so many brothers in scouts I've never enjoyed attending court of honors much. But this one was actually very amusing! Hahaha.
Wednesday we did some service for the Castles...& I'm so sad to say that this is their last week in Wrightwood. :(
In the evening, Alissa & Kealin had their baptism interviews & PASSED! Then afterward, we had dinner with the Dabells :)
Thursday after we did service at the library, we put together Alissa & Kealin's baptism program. Later, we were out trying a former investigator & met her husband, J. He was super friendly, but not really interested because they are very active at Hillside Community Church. BUT we asked him "who do you know who could use a message of how much God loves them?" & he told us to visit his neighbor! YAYYY FOR REFERRALS!!
Friday we were able to have a lesson with a less active we've been trying to visit since we've been here. As we were planning what to share with her, we decided to do a BoM read, which teaches about personal revelation & how the Spirit answers our questions through the Book of Mormon. It's a really cool exercise that I suggest you try! 
You think of a question you want answered, choose ANY place to read & start reading. It's really great to do it in a group because the insights you have about a verse can really help answer someone else's question. So we decided to do that with her & I felt like we should read Mosiah 18. Turns out that was inspired because about halfway into the chapter she said "BOOM, my question is answered!" & she started crying. It was soooo cool to see how the Spirit directed us to read that chapter so that her question could be answered & her testimony of the Book of Mormon strengthened.
5:01am came way too fast on Saturday morning. Why did we get up that early? El Mirage. You might remember me writing about this in May. Our zone did a service project with the community cleaning up trash around the dry lake bed. We got there at 6:15ish, helped make breakfast, ate at 7, started working around 8:15 & came back at 12:30 for lunch. It was pretty fun! 
El Mirage clean-up day

Afterwards we went home to make final preparations for the baptism & lo & behold Sister Anderson & I are both burnt! PERFECT timing, huh? Oh well, ALISSA & KEALIN ARE GETTING BAPTIZED! I don't think I told you, but I sang "I Heard Him Come" :) 
The water heater broke so the water was chillyyyyy. As Alissa was stepping in, I said "this will show her faith!" But she did it! She even had to go under twice because the first time her knee was up. Kealin went after & was acting all tough that the water wasn't that cold, but you could see him shivering. hahaha. It was such a neat experience to see the people that I've come to love over the past month & a half take a step of faith in following Jesus Christ & enter the waters of baptism. So special. After the baptism we went out to dinner with Sister Howard & Butler (their aunts), Alissa, Kealin, Sis. Carlson, & Bishop & Sister Jorgenson. I got a Macho burrito & boy was it MACHO. Sooo delicious though, but that's not important ;)

Sunday was a special day because Alissa & Kealin were confirmed members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints & were given the gift of the Holy Ghost. :)
Also, it was the primary program & the theme was "I know my Savior lives". Primary programs are THE BEST. There's nothing better than the sweet testimonies of children. Each child got to go up & say "I know my Savior loves me because..." 

"I know my Savior loves me because He gave me my family" was a common one, but that's what I would say too. I love my family! Families can be together forever & that makes me so happy & gives me so much hope. 

Well, this letter was probably all over the place, but I hope it makes a difference in your day.  Thanks for all you do for me! I love you & pray for you every day. :)
xoxo Sister Viraldo

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Happy fall! (10-19 Email)

The beauty in Wrightwood is UNREAL. Autumn is my favorite time of year. The leaves are changing, the wind is blowing, the fireplaces are blazing, and the sweaters I'm wearing. & I get to stay here at least 6 more weeks with my 2nd born, Sister Anderson! YAY!
Things are still going just dandy here in this little mountain town. A&K are prepping & excited for their baptism this Saturday! It's been so fun seeing their progress. & it's not something only we see, but members of the ward have seen it too.  One huge miracle that we've seen is in their ability to read. When we first started teaching them they couldn't read but a couple words at a time. They started reading the Book of Mormon on their own & we've been reading it with them & BOY have their reading abilities improved 10 fold! It's amazing to see the power of the Book of Mormon, not only in spiritual matters, but other ways as well.

We had exchanges this week! I always love exchanges. A little break in the routine is always nice & I learn SO much from the sisters I'm with. This week I had the opportunity to be on exchanges with Sister Wood in Wrightwood! :) She was stunned by the beauty Wrightwood has to offer, so yeah, I'm not exaggerating when I say that. ESPECIALLY when you're living in the rest of the high desert for so long & you get to come up to's like a mini vacation. Here are some things I learned from Sister Wood:
1. Asking soul searching questions: asking inspired questions is something I've been working on for awhile, but the kind of questions that really make a person examine themselves & look deep within is something I want to work on. When you have the ability to ask a question that makes a person really think it brings their true feelings & thoughts to surface & there's ALWAYS a gospel principle to teach.
2. LOVE: Sister Wood showed so much love to everyone she talked to. It was the very first time meeting these people & she made them feel the love the Savior has for them. love softens hearts.
3. Missionary work rocks. Okay I already knew that, but it was just reiterated a few more times!

We had a really cool experience while on exchanges. Walking down the street sister Wood asked "any houses you want to try?" With none in mind, I looked around & said "that one!" We knocked on the door & a lady opened who'd just been crying. We were able to make her laugh & brighten her day. We got to talk to her for a good 15 minutes about God & Jesus Christ. She never grew up with that foundation, but lets her 4yo daughter go to church. We were able to testify of God's love for her & the plan He has. It was amazing to see her countenance change as we stood there & showed her love & concern that we had & the Savior had for her.

I love the Savior & the love He has for me. Love makes the world go 'round. I can testify to the unending love Jesus Christ has for everyone. I know that if we show love to others not only will they feel better, but we will too. Love is key. We are told so many times in the scriptures "without charity ye are nothing". Charity is not money or material items, it is love. Show love to everyone! I promise that by doing so you will feel your Savior's love & your days will be better.

I love you all & thank you for taking time out of your day to read my letters & I hope something I say will help you change for the better. We all have room for change :) I don't know if you can tell, but I'd say I've changed a lot on my mission...I'm still me, just better (hopefully).

xoxo Sister Viraldo
Beautiful sunrise in Wrightwood.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Sorry it's short!! (10-13 Email)

This email is gonna be quite short because DUTY CALLS.

This week was really great! Nothing too too exciting happened, but great nonetheless!

We've been working closely with A&K for the past few weeks & it's been amazing to see the progress they're making. On Thursday we had a lesson about keeping the Sabbath day holy & afterwards asked A if we'd see her at church & she said "I don't know, we have a lot to do around the house." Hahaha, did we not just have a lesson about going to church & avoiding work on Sundays? So we told them we would come help them. Whatever it takes to get them at church! We were able to go over to their house & help with yard work & house work that needed to be done.

We're also working with L & he's so awesome! We had dinner/lesson with him & his mom yesterday & he said "When I'm a missionary..." :)
His dad should be coming to church this week! 

I'm sorry that's about all I have for my week. Next week's email will be better, I promise.

My thought for this email is about service. For my first time in Wrightwood, we were able to do quite a bit of service this week! Before my mission I didn't understand or appreciate the joy that comes from serving others.The size of service that we do is irrelevant: opening the door for someone, picking up something they dropped, raking the ENORMOUS amount of pine needles that are in one's yard, & even a smile can brighten someone's day. There is a sense of happiness that enters our lives when we forget ourselves & serve people out of the kindness of our heart, expecting nothing in return. I'd encourage one & all to get out this week & do service for someone. I promise that a greater sense of LOVE & JOY will enter your life because of it. After all, "...when ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God." Let us get out & serve God this week by serving our fellowmen. 

xoxo Sister Viraldo

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Your faith will grow not by CHANCE, but by CHOICE (10-6-15 Email)

4-week New Missionary Meeting


Looking back at this week, it went by so quickly, yet at the same time Wednesday feels like it happened 2 weeks ago. That's the life of a missionary, though.

First off I wanted to talk about the amazing General Conference weekend we all enjoyed. What a huge blessing it is to be a member of Jesus Christ's church--The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--in these, the last days & for the opportunities we have to listen to God's chosen servants. They truly speak the words of the Lord. EACH of the talks that were given were SO inspired by the Lord & if we listen by the Spirit, they all can apply to us in our personal lives. 

There were quite a few talks that I really connected to & found great insight & personal revelation in.
#1 Elder Larry R. Lawrence - "What lack I yet?" He focused on our personal spiritual growth & how we can improve as disciples of Jesus Christ. He challenged us each to do a spiritual exercise. He invited us to humbly pray and ask the Lord, "What is keeping me from progressing?" Then to wait quietly for a response from the Holy Ghost. If we are humble & ready for an answer the Holy Ghost will tell us something very specific that we can do in our lives or rid from our lives that will help us be more Christlike. He encouraged us to be humble enough to ask & faithful enough to act. Spiritual growth should be a priority in our lives. We all should be trying to improve each and every day. The Lord doesn't expect us to be perfect, but He DOES expect us to try a little harder to be a little better. I love this exercise because there are things in my life that I can do better to become the person & specifically the missionary Heavenly Father needs me to be! I'm grateful for personal revelation.

#2 Elder Robert D. Hales - I loved his talk because he was so BOLD & specific. Stay out of debt. If you choose to avoid temptation, you'll be happy. Be worthy of the person you will marry. Pretty simple.

#3 Elder Jeffrey R. Holland - I always love Elder Holland's talks. He speaks to my soul. He talked about the loving, kind, selfless role of MOTHERHOOD. The love that a mother has for her child is the closest to Christlike love there is on earth. I love you mom!

#4 President Thomas S. Monson - This holy man has given his whole life to the Lord. The 2 scriptures he shared have been part of mine & Sister Anderson's lessons recently. I loved how he explained how we can be an example in word, conversation, charity, spirit, faith & purity. As we develop those attributes, our lights can shine to those around us!

#5 Sister Carole M. Stephens - Her talk about LOVE & OBEDIENCE was awesome! It is so true. We are given commandments because God loves us! He knows what is best for us. 

Those are just some of the talks that stuck out to me!

This week was GRRREAT!  We had a couple lessons with Sister H and her son L. Earlier this week I was really pondering the counsel given by Elder Falabella & reinforced by President Hobbs-- focus on fathers, teach the fathers & the family. I had a strong impression that we need to focus on L's father. I brought that up to Sister Anderson & she really felt like we need to do that as well. On Friday we were talking with Sister H & we were planning on telling her how we want to meet her husband. Before we were able to do that she told us that they started going to counseling & he agreed to go to church with her. That was PERFECT for what we wanted to talk with her about. We started relaying the counsel from Elder Falabella & she got chills. The Spirit testified to all of us that that was right. As of now, we haven't met him yet, but hopefully he'll be at church this Sunday. This is a huge miracle! :) 

This week was week 4, aka the 4 week new missionary meeting! It's an opportunity that President & Sister Hobbs have of checking on the new missionary's progress & to answer questions they or we have. It's always great to receive training from them. 

We had a couple lessons with A & K. We're working on helping them prepare for their baptism in a few weeks! We're SO excited & they seem to be too. It's really hard to read them, but they truly desire to be baptized & know it's true! 

One of the coolest things that happened this week happened just yesterday afternoon...
Earlier in the week we had dinner with Brother & Sister Strong & they named off 4 of their neighbors they wanted us to visit. One of them is a lady by the name of D. We met her yesterday & learned that she recently lost her job. Her boss goes to her church & she just couldn't bring herself to go to church on Sunday. We talked to her a little about God's plan for her & introduced her to the Book of Mormon. We explained how the Bible, over time, lost precious truths due to translations. She believed that. And we explained the purpose of the Book of Mormon, to testify of Christ & to expound upon the Bible. Specifically how in the Bible it talks about how Christ was "baptized to fulfill all righteousness" & the Book of Mormon, Alma 31, tells us what it means to "fulfill all righteousness". You could just see the Spirit working in her. She thought it was good & wants to read it & see if it can help her understand the Bible more. I don't remember much of what I said, but I DO remember how strongly I felt the Spirit speaking through me to exactly what she needed to hear. It truly is amazing to be doing this work. Every day is a blessing.

Mom, I did get answers to my questions during conference! It's amazing how the Spirit works, huh?
Yes, you should share it with me, what you learned from Pres Uchtdorf's talk!
Wowww you're going to San Diego this week! Luckies! 
I guess I won't worry about dad, if you're not worried.
I'm not feeling any better really, the neti pot is the thing I've found that works the best. Weird, I was down in Rancho on Wednesday & didn't have any problems....

I love you mommy & daddy! Thanks for the great emails. I love hearing about everything! 
Have a great week & I'll talk to you next week while you're only a couple hours from me! hahaha
xoxo Sister Viraldo